The restaurant industry continues to display its resilience as it steadily adds more jobs month after month.
Preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that the Food Services and Drinking Places sector experienced a net gain of 14,900 jobs in August.
This momentum is in sync with the industry's performance during the spring and summer months, consistently averaging an increase of 15,000 jobs per month.
This sustained growth marks a remarkable 32-month streak of job gains since January 2021, resulting in a substantial surge of almost 2.6 million new restaurant jobs. While the industry is making significant progress, it has not quite reached its pre-pandemic peak in February 2020, falling short by a modest 32,400 jobs, or 0.03%.
If the current trends persist, the restaurant industry is poised to not only recover but potentially surpass its February 2020 employment levels by the end of the calendar year.
The number of employees in the restaurant industry year over year
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Employees are quitting at a lower rate
In addition to growing jobs, the restaurant industry is finding more success with employee retention.
In the restaurants and accommodations** job sector, the quit rate for July, the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, stands at 3.9%. This figure represents a substantial improvement from the peaks seen in 2021 and 2022 when the quit rate exceeded 6%. Comparatively, this current rate is also lower than the 2019 average of 4.9%.
While it's too early to call it a trend, this quit rate reflects a movement toward stability as the industry continues its journey of recovery from the tumultuous impact of the 2020 shutdowns and the evolving landscape of the restaurant sector.
Wages are consistently higher
The average hourly earnings for restaurant workers as of July 2023 (the latest data available) is $19.64 dollars.
This is consistent with wages since May, which has fluctuated from $19.50 to $19.67. Compared to the same period in 2022, wages have gone up $1.10, a 5.9% increase.
Wages have been on the rise since 2020. In just three years, wages rose 27%, up from an average of $15.42 in July of 2020.
As for if wages will continue to rise past $20 an hour, only time will tell.
The 7shifts team remains committed to monitoring monthly restaurant job data, identifying trends, and providing valuable insights to help navigate the ever-changing dynamics of our industry.
*Industries in the Food Services and Drinking Places subsector prepare meals, snacks, and beverages to customer order for immediate on-premises and off-premises consumption. There is a wide range of establishments in these industries. Some provide food and drink only; while others provide various combinations of seating space, waiter/waitress services and incidental amenities, such as limited entertainment. The industries in the subsector are grouped based on the type and level of services provided. The industry groups are full-service restaurants; limited-service eating places; special food services, such as food service contractors, caterers, and mobile food services; and drinking places.
**The Accommodation and Food Services sector comprises establishments providing customers with lodging and/or preparing meals, snacks, and beverages for immediate consumption. The sector includes both accommodation and food services establishments because the two activities are often combined at the same establishment.
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